Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stars in a Time Warp: Gladi's We Are Stardust

Gladi Porsche. We Are Star Dust.
Gladi's goal is to finish hand quilting her Stars in a Time Warp
by January because she is having a one-artist show at the New England Quilt Museum.

A terrific appliqued border

You may remember our Stars in a Time Warp 
Quilt Along in 2015.

Gladi got into making stars from her stash of reproduction prints.
She made a crib quilt

and a doll quilt.

The Quilts of Gladi Porsche will be up in Lowell, Massachusetts at the New England Quilt Museum from January 10 to April 29, 2018.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Civil War Quilt?

This quilt photo has found its way to several of those internet printing services that take images in the public domain and print them for you.
There's no information on the source or the history of the quilt. The caption reads:

Could it be an actual Civil War era quilt?

It shares design ideas with other patriotic quilts of the day, particularly this one from the collection of the Missouri Historical Society.
See more about the Hisorical Society's quilt here:

I've been looking for a source for about a year and have come up with nothing. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tonko's Tiny Yankee Diary

Tonko's Block 9
Our Thoughts Are Intense

Tonko in Japan is keeping up with the Yankee Diary 
Block of the Month.

She doesn't convert my pattern instructions
from inches to centimeters. She just changes the measurement
3-7/8 inches = 3-7/8 centimeters

So a 12 inch block will be 12 centimeters across---about 4-3/4"

It's too much math for me to explain it further
but she works SMALL.

She posted a photo of Blocks 1-8 on her design wall.

When you work at that scale your design wall can be
quite portable.

See her Thistly Room/Mixed T blog here:

On the right side click on 
"Handmade: Quilts: Civil War Quilts" to see Yankee Diary
and several other BOM's she's working on.

And see some of her other YD blocks at this post:

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Ellen Dicus Ex Slave

Thousands of people who'd lived as slaves made quilts but few made a note of their past history. This block was pictured in Patsy & Myron Orlofsky's Quilts in America in 1974, in the collection of the Vigo County Historical Society in Terre Haute, Indiana. Fabric and signature style look to be after 1880 into the early 20th century.

"Ellen Dicus
Ex Slave

I haven't found any more about the quilt except that Ellen's signature may be the only one on the quilt and it is in a corner block. Ellen herself is another matter.

Greenfield, Missouri is under the orange star.

Ellen Hobby Sloan Dicus (1831 - 1910) lived much of her life near Greenfield in Dade County, Missouri in the Ozarks.

Greenfield about 1910 with  the Opera House on the corner
and the hotel at the other end of the block.

She's buried in the Greenfield, Missouri cemetery with her husband Emanuel [Manuel] H. Clopton Dicus (1832-1910). The files on the Dicus family at FindAGrave give us a lot of information.

The 1880 census shows the couple as farmers who owned their own land, living in Sac Township in Dade County with nine children (although later records indicate Ellen had seven surviving children.) 

Lila Cole, who maintains the Dicus records at FindAGrave, writes:
"Ellen Dicus was born a slave in Tennessee. She was at times 'owned' by two different slavers one named Hobby and one named Sloan."

Daughter Rowena Malinda was born in 1859 "on  the old Sloan Homestead on [the] Sac River" in the Ozarks. The Sac, which feeds today's Stockton Lake, ran through Dade and Green Counties.

I think the hotel still stands

She may have come from Tennessee with the family of William Bradley Sloan (1814-1855) who settled in Missouri in the 1830's, building "a large double log house" in Sac Township. Ellen's husband Manuel was probably a slave in the family of Edward Dicus (1790-1865) from Jackson County, Tennessee.

The Greenfield Opera House recently

When the Civil War began 300 people lived in Greenfield. Seventy-one of them were enslaved. Missouri slave holders, mostly small farmers, tended to maintain just a few slaves. The 1860 schedule for Dade County indicted there were 346 enslaved people and 107 slaveholders, about 3 per family.

The History of Dade County and Its People, published in 1917, listed some ex-slaves:
Lucy Rutledge, Henry Griggs, Henry Stephenson, Bill Long, Manuel and Ellen Dicus, and Aunt Lilah Hoyle.

By then Ellen and Manuel were resting in the Greenfield Cemetery, but several of their children were probably still living near Greenfield---although one might have gone east to Terre Haute taking the quilt.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Another Northern Lily/Southern Rose

I finally finished my version of
the Northern Lily/Southern Rose sampler quilt
I designed for my 2011 reproduction line
Civil War Reunion.

I worked with Moda's designer Susan Stiff on this quilt. I drew up the applique patterns...
(Note what the poor woman had to deal with.)

made a model and sent it off to her.
 She made a digital sketch of each block & drew the pattern better in digital form

We decided on an alternate block set with a double
border that made into an 84" square quilt.

Susan also stitched the model that was shown at Quilt Market.

Moda made a pattern package out of it and sold it in
2011 to recall the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's beginning.

So I have just gotten my 9 blocks quilted and bound. Lori Kukuk quilted it on her longarm.
I'm only 6 years behind in finishing things up.

The pattern is way out of print but I noticed that some online retailers still have a few of the Moda paper patterns in stock. Check these out:


I digitized it so you can buy my version at my Etsy Shop:

PDF to print yourself:

Paper through the Mail

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Southern Quilt Linking North and South

Cut-out Chintz Album Quilt
Kansas Museum of History

About ten years ago Betty saw a photo of this quilt in my book Quilts from the Civil War.

At the time we knew something about the quilt. It was the first quilt in the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society, women's work accepted only because of its link to the Civil War. Needlework was not really of much interest until the validation of material culture and women's history in the late 20th century.

Those of us working at the Museum in the late 20th century could tell by the style and the story that it was a Southern quilt made before the Civil War. The signatures told us that it was likely a Mellichamp family quilt.

In 1924 Ann Prentice Holyoke donated it to the Society telling curators that her husband Union soldier George T. Holyoke had come across it during the war in Louisiana or Mississippi. He bought it from another soldier and shipped it to his wife in Illinois. At the time Ann was raising her young son Albert while George served from September, 1862 till the end of the War. 

The Holyoke tombstone
"Husband & Wife
Faithful & Devoted"
There is no death date for Ann.

Both George and Ann are buried in Galesburg, Illinois where they lived much of their lives as farmers. She and George had married in 1850. George's father William Holyoke also lived in Galesburg and is recorded as a member of  Illinois Anti-slavery Societies in the 1830s and '40s. Members of the Holyoke family were active abolitionists before the war.

George was a private in Company K of the 45th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, according to researcher William S. Scott. His Regiment fought under Sherman in the march from Savannah through the Carolinas so he might have bought the quilt not far from its original owners.

The quilt is in Kansas because the Holyokes moved to Kansas where George died in Topeka in 1894. Ann appreciated the quilt's beauty and tried to find the rightful owners. She hoped the society would continue the search.

In the 21st century Betty recognized the name Mellichamp in the caption in my book and her letter helped a group of volunteer researchers find out much more. Merikay Waldvogel and Bets Ramsey published more information in their book Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War.

William S. Scott concluded that most of the signers lived in the St. Andrews community on James Island just south of Charleston in South Carolina and some lived in Charleston. A likely date for the quilt's making was after 1845, which is consistent with the block-style chintz applique.

48 inscribed names include Mellichamps, 
Cromwells, Hintons and Rivers, all James Island families.

Betty's great-great grandfather was Joseph Hinton Mellichamp whose inked signature is on the quilt. Dr. Mellichamp (1829 - 1903) was a well-known botanist and physician who was from James Island. Mellichamps had been residents of James Island since the American Revolution.

Map of James Island in the collection of the Charleston Museum
possibly drawn by Robert Eliott Mellichamp (1836-1919) 
who also signed the quilt. Robert served in Manigault's Battalion.
Charleston is the grid at the top. 

Mellichamp watched a pitcher plant consume an insect
in his kitchen.

Dr. Mellichamp's life is well-documented as his botanical work was innovative. He is known for having observed that the pitcher plant is actually carnivorous. He moved south to Bluffton in Beaufort County on the Georgia border where he practiced medicine and coastal botany. He married Sarah E. Pope in 1848 and she may have signed the quilt too as "Sarah A. Mellichamp" is one of the signatures. During the war he served as a surgeon in the Confederate army and was one of the few Mellichamps of his generation to survive the war.

Betty's great-grandmother Mary Adams Mellichamp's home was occupied by Union troops, according to her family story. Bluffton was first occupied by Confederate forces and then in 1863 attacked by Union troops. Two-thirds of the town's buildings were destroyed, including the doctor's house.

At least two deer were on the quilt. One has deteriorated.

The Mellichamps who remained on James Island fared no better. Fort Sumter is on the northeastern edge of the Island. Victoria Alice Mellichamp Burch (1852-1928) whose father Edward Henry Mellichamp died in a Union prison camp in Maryland, left a memoir of a childhood spent under bombardment.
"We were then living at Fort Johnson on James Island, and thus witnessed the firing upon of the "Star of the West" [at Fort Sumter, the first battle between North and South] ....Shortly after this, as a military necessity, we were obliged to vacate our house, it being a good site for a mortar battery, so we went further up the island, and our house was blown up just before the battle of Fort Sumter, as it interfered with the range of the guns....From James Island we moved to Charleston, remaining there until December, 1861, when with many others we were burned out in the great fire which swept the city from water's edge to water's edge, destroying about one-half. We lost all our household goods, saving but little more than our clothing....
"After this we refugeed in Sumter, where we lived about two years before going out into the country about five miles from the town, staying there until the close of the war. One afternoon, most unexpectedly, a negro boy came galloping past yelling: "The Yankees are coming!" In a moment all was confusion, all trying to secrete their valuables, silver, jewelry, provisions, everything that they supposed would be destroyed. I became possessed with the idea that the Yankees would certainly want my dolls, so I got a box, in which I packed the dolls and their clothing and then buried them so securely that they never could be found again."
It's difficult to trace the quilt from its Charleston area home to Yankee hands, but its survival among all the destruction is remarkable.

 Alice Mellichamp Burch's memoir "A Child's Recollections of the War" was published in South Carolina Women's Narratives. Read it here on page 155.

Read about the quilt here at the Kansas Historical Society's webpage.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yankee Diary 10: Leaves of Autumn

Yankee Diary 10: Leaves of Autumn
by Becky Brown

Susan Elizabeth Daggett 1841-1931

Susie Daggett was a leader in Carrie's Canandaigua "Society," first called the Young Ladies' Sewing Society and once the war began the Young Ladies Aid Society. At a YLAS meeting the secretary:
"reported that in one year's time we made in our society 133 pairs of drawers, 101 shirts, 4 pairs socks for soldiers, and 54 garments for the families of soldiers."

Carrie's grandparents house

In January, 1863, the Society met at the Beals/Richards home for a supper and sewing. After the young ladies left Grandmother Beals examined the garments to "see how much we had accomplished and if we had made them well. Mary Field made a pair of drawers with No. 90 thread. [This would be a fine thread.] She said she wanted them to look fine and I am sure they did."

From Carrie's Diary:
"Most of us wrote notes [to] put inside the garments for the soldiers in the hospitals. Sarah Gibson Howell has had an answer to her letter. His name is Foster — a Major. She expects him to come and see her soon."
The notes inside the underwear (What did Grandmother think!!!) were a form of social networking. Many romances including Gippie Howell's began with a soldier writing a thank you letter for a quilt or hand-knitted socks. 

Benjamin Brown Foster

Carrie's friend Gippie Howell (1842-1897) married Major Benjamin Brown Foster from Maine about a year after she began writing him. Carrie did not mention a quilt made for Sarah and the Major, although according to society rules any member marrying a soldier was to get the gift of a flag bed quilt.

You may recall that Susie Daggett swore she'd never marry but the women were to "make her a quilt just the same." After the Civil War Susie moved to Connecticut with her parents.

Center of the Old Maid's Quilt
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

She never married and when she turned 30 her old friends in Canandaigua sent her the quilt she'd demanded 11 years earlier. The quilt was a joke, an "Old Maid's Quilt," inscribed in the center with a caricature of a homely knitter.

Shelly Zegart wrote an article about the Daggett quilt called "Old Maid, New Woman" for Quilt Digest 4 in 1986, noting that the central cartoon was drawn by a young minister (Frederick B. Allen was a minister at Canandaigua's Congregational church in 1871).
"This block, donated by the pastor, Mr. Allen, consisted of a pen-picture of a spinster with her knitting work, her hair done up in a ridiculous little knot. This, by the way, was not intended to be an exact likeness of any member of the society."

Susie Daggett spent two years at Vassar College for women teaching Ancient History and was an administrator in the 1870s. She lived many years in New Haven, Connecticut with her sister Mary who also remained single.

"Leaves of Autumn" by Becky Brown

Susie died in 1931 after giving her Old Maid's Quilt to another society member, Clara Willson Coleman (1840-1924), Clara passed it to her daughter Susan Daggett Coleman Wilbur (1867-1948). The quilt is now in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Presented by YLAS (The Young Ladies Aid Society) 

Susie Daggett's Old Maid's Quilt
made by the YLAS

Block 10, a brown stripe from Baltimore Blues 
on a navy background.
Denniele Bohannon
See how her classes are going at her Facebook page

The Leaves of Autumn
This month's applique is drawn from the gold-colored leaf on Susie's quilt. You'll need three.

The shape resembles a poplar leaf, which to a classical scholar might represent the "Groves of Academe," perhaps a reference to Miss Daggett's position teaching Ancient History at Vassar.  Another 19th-century meaning from the "Language of Flowers" characterized the poplar---leafless in winter---as meaning sadness or melancholy, a possible reference to Susie's advanced age of 30.  

Cutting a 9" Finished Block
Cut 3 background squares 9-1/2" (or larger and trim to 9-1/2" after applique and pressing.)
Fold into 4 triangles and press to give you guide lines for placement.

Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file. The leaf should measure 7-1/4" from top edge to the bottom.
Adjust the printed page size if necessary.

One of Becky's leaves

Cut 3 leaf shapes and applique.
When the leaf blocks are finished you can set the upper right section....

And the lower right section.

Two blocks to go.

Cabinet card photo by a clever photographer

Read Shelly Zegart's "Old Maid, New Woman" online here: 

Read the inscriptions on Susie's quilt in Sandi Fox's book Wrapped in Glory.
One of the kinder thoughts:
"We made this quilt for our dear Sue
May her joys be many and her sorrows few!"
See the quilt donated by Shelly Zegart in the LACMA collection at this page:

You can buy the paper patterns for Blocks 9-12 now in my Etsy shop. Click here for a PDF you print yourself for $6.

Here's the link for patterns 9-12 that I'll print and mail to you for $10.